Charles  E.  Karmire

From Boetcker's  Picturesque Shelbyville, c 1912

Charles E. Karmire. The subject of this biography is a native of Germany, born in Prussia on the 29th day of May, 1829.  His parents, William and  Elizabeth (Winden) Karmire, were natives of the same county the father dying there when  Charles  was quite a small boy, and the mother departing this life in the United States about the year 1868.  In 1863, he accompanied his; mother to this country, and settled with the family in New York City, where he soon obtained employment as salesman in a grocery house, in which capacity he continued until 1865.  In January, of the latter year, he went to Toledo, Ohio, where he was similarly engaged until the following fall, at which time he took a thorough course in Bryant & Stratton's Commercial College, thus laying the foundation for the successful business career which has marked his subsequent years. After completing his business education, he went to Indianapolis where, until the fall of 1866, he clerked in the hardware house of  Wilson and Gorgas, and then went to New Orleans, in which city he was employed as clerk for about one year.  In August, 1867,he came to Shelbyville, Ind., and began clerking for  A. J. Gorgas, in whose employ he continued until January, 1S69, when he opened a grocery house, to which he subsequently added a hardware stock, and still later agricultural implements.  He continued this business with gratifying success until 1877, at which time, he disposed of his grocery and hardware stock and began dealing extensively in agricultural implements, buggies, wagons, carriages, etc., in which branch of trade he has met with extraordinary success, his annual sales averaging over $65,000. Mr. Karmire has met with success such as few attain in a much longer life, and is a notable example of what a man of energy and determination can accomplish in the face of adverse circumstances.  In the year 1885, he made a tour of Europe for the purpose of restoring his health which had become seriously impaired by close attention to business, and the following year removed from Shelbyville to his beautiful farm of 240 acres of fine land two miles southeast of the city where he now resides.  He still carries on his business, however, and in addition to his home farm, owns other valuable real estate in both city and country.  He was married June 2, 1870, to  Miss Fannie Brown, daughter of  Jacob and Elizabeth Brown.  Mrs. Karmire was born in Shelbyville and is the mother of four children, viz.:  Earl F.,  Harry E.,  William J., and  Charles A.  Politically, Mr. Karmire is a Republican, but not a partisan in the sense of seeking office. He is prominently identified with the Masonic fraternity, having joined that order in 1880.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, Brant & Fuller, 1887, "Shelbyville Sketches,"  page 499-500.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

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The  Shelby  Democrat

February 13, 1879
VOL. 1; No. 37
from the article, SMILING SHELBYVILLE!
Charles E. Karmire
is beyond a doubt, the largest dealer in agricultural implements in the city.  He was born in the year 1848, in Minden, Prussia.  His father died in the old country, when he was but twelve years old, and his mother in the year 1867, in New York [sic], a short time after her arrival in the United States.  Mr. Karmire landed in this country on the 25th of August, 1863, and secured employment as clerk in a grocery store in New York City.  He remained there until January 1, 1865, when he went to Toledo, Ohio, where he also acted as clerk in a grocery store, and in September, 1865, went to Indianapolis, and secured a position as salesman in the hardware store owned by Wilson & Gorgas.  In September of the year following, he went to New Orleans, where he clerked in a wholesale hardware store until August, 1867, at which time he came to Shelbyville, and again assumed the duties of salesman in the hardware store of Mr. A. J. Gorgas.  Desirous of engaging in business for himself, and seeing a favorable opportunity, he opened out with a small stock of groceries in the year 1869.  Having been connected with the hardware business, he soon added a small stock in that line.  By good weights, and gentlemanly demeanor towards his customers, he soon established a good trade, which he had the pleasure of seeing increase from year to year.  In 1873, he secured the control of quite a number of agricultural implements which he handled successfully and in 1876, he sold out his grocery and devoted himself exclusively to the agricultural business.  He now has the agency for the following implements and machines, all of which have a world wide reputation:  Champion Reaper and Mower, the Marsh Harvester and Self-binder, Deere & Company's Sulky Plow and Cultivator, the Vandiver Corn Planter, the Hoosier and Superior Wheat Drill, Gibbs' Imperial Breaking Plow, the Eagle Farm Engine and the Oscillator Thresher. He is also agent for the celebrated Studebaker Wagon, manufactured at South Bend, Ind.  He has assumed control, for this county, of the New Davis Lock Stitch, Verticle Feed Sewing Machine.  It is claimed for this machine that it is the lightest running shuttle machine in the market, adapted to a greater range of work, and is unequalled[sic] for simplicity, strength and durability, and that for general family use, it has not equal.  Mr. Karmire has sold eighty-one of these machines since the fair last fall, and still the demand is not supplied.  He invites all in need of any article in his line to give him a call, feeling satisfied that he can prove to them conclusively, that the implements under his control possess merits over and above all others.  His place of business is on the north-east side of the Public Square, in the Odd Fellows Building.
               Next biography in the "Smiling Shelbyville" newspaper article, E. Q. Darr.
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming

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